• Accessing the empowerment funds has been a challenge.
• Let government just introduce entrepreneurs fund to be administered on merit.
• It has not been easy for SMEs to access funds from the commercial banks.
Zambian Empowerment Hub for Entrepreneurship and Skills Training (ZEHEST) has called for the creation of an entrepreneurs’ fund which should be administered on merit.
Speaking in an interview with Money FM News, Organization Executive Director Clarence Muzyamba stated that doing so will allow Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who are eligible and are able to exhibit innovation as well as creativity, to get the funds so that people who do not quality don’t end up getting the empowerment funds.
Mr. Muzyamba lamented that accessing empowerment under Constituency Development Funds (CDF) has been a challenge for most SMEs.
He noted that some constituencies have not yet utilized their CDF, as it is still lying idle in bank accounts due to difficult guidelines and stringent measures to administer the resources.
“Accessing these empowerment funds has been a challenge, an example is that of CDF up to now we are told that some constituencies have not yet utilized the CDF monies, it’s lying idle in bank accounts due to difficult guidelines and stringent measures to administer such.”
“For us our proposal is that let government just introduce what we are calling entrepreneurs fund to be administered on merit so that SMEs who are eligible and show innovation as well as creativity, may put up a proposal, and have an evaluation team on merit and then funds are given. That way we are going to see transparency and accountability. As it is now, people who do not qualify will end up getting the empowerment funds,” Mr. Muzyamba said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Muzyamba reaffirmed calls for commercial banks to lower their lending rates in order to make it easy for SMEs to access financing.
“We bemoan the high borrowing rates from the commercial banks. It has not been easy for us to access funds from these commercial banks as SMEs. Now we want action, more than just speeches,” he lamented.